Tributes have been paid to a well-known Eastbourne character who died in a tragic fall after a night out.
Paresh Chauhan, 51, was a popular figure in the town, had plenty of friends, and was “happy go lucky”, an inquest into his death heard on Thursday (September 12).
But the Pret A Manger barista’s sister said he fell into a “deep depression” after losing his brother in 2018.
In a statement read at the inquest in Eastbourne Town Hall, Rita Chudasama said, “He was a very kind, honest, and gentle person.
“He had plenty of friends, was well-liked and was reliable. A very humble, polite man, always calling customers sir or madam. He was very loving, always enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews.
“He used to smoke and drink socially. He enjoyed travelling with his best friend Dennis. He always put on a happy image, he was a happy go lucky man.”
Born in Kampala, Uganda, the inquest heard Paresh’s family fled the Idi Amin regime and moved to England when he was three.
The youngest of six siblings, Paresh grew up in London. He was gifted at chess as a youngster, winning a chess tournament in Arundel.
He began a degree in maths at Kings College London in 1981 but dropped out after two years, deciding instead to work at his sibling’s shop in Brighton.
He then moved to Eastbourne in 2008 where he got a job at the local McDonald’s, but was later transferred to Gatwick.
The inquest heard Paresh had been on a night out at Eastbourne Cocktail Club in Station Street on Friday, April 26 this year.
Staff at the club helped him get home that night. Guy Morton Holmes said, “He didn’t seem able to stand upright himself. He told me he had five pints at the club and had drunk in other places but couldn’t tell me where.”
They helped him back to his flat in Hyde Road, leaving him at the front door at his request.
The inquest heard he was found dead the next morning by a neighbour in the communal stairwell, face-down on the landing.
Police investigated the incident but eventually concluded he had fallen.
A post mortem found he had 279mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – three and a half times the legal limit to drive. This was “consistent with serious intoxication” and “extreme drunkeness”, according to the pathologist.
The report found his cause of death was postural asphyxia. Concluding an accidental death, coroner Alan Craze said, “He has fallen into a position which restricts the process of breathing.”